It’s no secret that allergies and asthma suck! In fact, they get in the way of almost all the things we enjoy doing! Argh, so unfair 😀 But! What we do know, is that allergies and asthma can be managed with the right education, and the right attitude. So, this article will take a closer look at the basic 101’s of allergies and asthma, and how we can promote allergy relief in the home.
A Basic Look At Allergies
Allergies occur when the body overreacts to an allergen or ‘trigger’ in the environment. There are many allergens, but, the most common household ones are:
2. Dust mites
3. Animal dander
4. Dirty vacuum filters.
Symptoms depend on the allergies but are commonly experienced as:
1. a runny nose
3. swelling of eyes, lips, face, throat and tongue.
4. a wheeze or persistent cough
5. a headache
6. stomach aches including vomiting and diarrhea
7. skin rash
Studies reveal that between 10-30% of our population suffer from allergies and that half of those allergy sufferers are children! It makes you wonder how often we might confuse a child’s headache with the cold, a stomach ache with something we ate, and even a skin rash with something we may have touched? Whilst all that is true, allergies may actually be the contributing factor in these common scenarios!
A Basic Look At Asthma
Simply put, asthma is a disease of the lungs. It is a condition in which the airways become restricted from swelling and inflammation and produces extra mucus making it difficult to breathe. There are at least 4 types of asthma:
1. Adult-onset asthma
2. Allergic asthma
3. Exercise-induced asthma
4. Non-allergic asthma
In this article, we will be talking about allergic asthma. Allergic asthma is when allergens such as dust, pollen and pet dander trigger asthma symptoms. So, what we now know is that there is a link between asthma and allergies. What we also know is that vacuuming can help reduce these symptoms in the home.
Vacuuming Techniques To Reduce Allergies & Asthma
Dusting should be part of your regular cleaning routine. So, the first step with dusting is to pop on a dust mask to avoid inhaling dust particles and the second step is to start removing the dust in your home! Dust often enters and settles in high places so always work from the top down.
Now, third and most important step, suck up that dust! There are many universal vacuum attachments to assist you and your vacuum with dusting decor items and ornaments and/or those hard to reach places including blinds, ceiling fans, and high cabinet-tops, just to name a few. Vacuuming dust is always the best dusting option in your home as the vacuum will literally suck up the dust as you swipe and sweep those areas.
However! In the unlikely event that these areas are making it awkward for you and your vacuum to co-exist, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered (again…)! Using an electrostatic duster or microfibre dust cloth is a decent alternative in these circumstances.
A reminder though: whilst dust cloths remove most of the dust, it does not remove it all. For the most part, this method simply absorbs some dust, and moves the rest into the air, before it eventually re-settles, sending you right back to steps 1 and 2.
Is Your Vacuum Ready?
Now that you’ve dusted all things above the floor, it is time to focus on the actual floor, in particular your carpet, rugs and upholstery.
First things first, is your vacuum ready for the allergy and asthma journey? In other words, have you done the following:
1. Emptied the vacuum bag or canister?
2. Checked that the filter is clean?
3. Checked that the hose is not blocked, and that the foot of the hose extension is not clogged up with dirt, debris, hair or other things?
Our Vacuum Cleaners With The Best Suction article dives deeper into vacuum maintenance and the importance therein so do consider reading this if you haven’t already!
Remove Small Items From The Floor
Remove toys, cords, socks and other bits and bobs that we normally vacuum around with such finesse, otherwise (and as you all know), they will escape up the hose or get caught in the vacuum foot which ultimately results in an unnecessary dusty retrieval :/
Vacuum With A Consistent Pattern
Vacuum with a consistent pattern by working from the outside in, line by line, side to side and so forth. When doing so, vacuum slowly and consider going back and forth over that area at least 2-3 times. This ensures full coverage of your space, and a thorough clean. It also helps you to keep track of where you are.
For a super thorough clean, continue your vacuuming in the opposite direction, for example: work from the inside and back out, right to left then left to right, up and down then side to side. This will make sure that microscopic dust mites and allergens are ruffled and collected along the way.
Avoid vacuuming in a random angle and shape pattern as this is a sure way to miss spots.
Vacuum all corners and edges. Remember to use your universal vacuum attachments for an accurate reach! With hardwood floors, apply this same method, and use the appropriate setting of your vacuum for this space.
Washing Your Floors & Upholstery
For exceptionally clean and dust free floors and upholstery, washing and shampooing is a must! For carpet and upholstery shampooing you can do this professionally, or hire a carpet cleaning vacuum cleaner and do it yourself. A popular buy and/or hire is the Rug Doctor.
If you have your own vacuum to do this, consider these liquid and powder remedies that help to free trapped dirt, debris, dust mites and allergens, and also prevent re-occurrence of allergens.
If you are pro-chemical free, or you are working towards a chemical free home, consider these eco-friendly options instead. Eco-friendly is always a better option when considering our environment 🙂
Speaking of chemical free, a great washing method for carpets, hardwood floors and upholstery is steam cleaning. A number of excellent steam cleaners can be purchased online today! Steam cleaning is considered by experts as the safest and most effective way to wash and steam your floors and upholstery.
The Importance of Regular Vacuuming
Allergens are known for settling and thriving in the home environment. The main allergen culprit is dust. Dust is a combination of dirt, pollen from outside, dead skin cells, and fibres from clothing. Dust mites love to exist wherever there is dust, and as you know, homes are full of it. Who knows how many of these little critters are lurking around your home causing you all sort of allergy and asthma drama!
As you can now imagine, the reduction or elimination of the main allergen culprit dust, is key to minimising allergies, and asthma symptoms. So, establishing a good vacuuming routine is necessary. It is also necessary to be consistent, regular and diligent with your vacuuming.
National housing standards suggest that rugs should be vacuumed at least once per week, high foot traffic areas and bedrooms at least twice per week, and furniture, mattresses and drapes more regularly. As a rule of thumb you should vacuum your entire house more frequently if you own pets, and/or suffer from allergies and asthma.
Remember, improper or irregular vacuuming will end up making your allergies and asthma symptoms that much worse! Above all, let us reiterate what has already been said, selecting vacuums for allergies and asthma specifically, will increase your chances of a healthy home environment.
Now that you know a little bit more about allergy relief in the home, go check out our article with the Best Vacuums For Allergies And Asthma.
Happy vacuuming X